July 16, 2011

A New Look At Nawaz Sharif

Category: governance – admin 5:53 am

Nawaz now not only has a new refurbished wig, renovated heart and less wrinkled face, some of the views recently ventured by him also appear to have been tempered by experience and introspection following his ouster and exile. He has, for instance, asked to repudiate the animosity against India, make the intractable generals and their behemoth establishment answerable to parliament and institute an incisive scrutiny of the security establishment’s actions and allocations. Such pronouncements, ironically even by a test-tube scion of the establishment, vindicate the ideas long illumined by the enlightened and liberal luminaries and silently cherished by the masses to be an essential prerequisite for Pakistan’s prosperity and survival. Their assertion by Nawaz has certainly rattled the taboo and the trepidation they once triggered and spawned a new open debate. But for their realisation, he faces a striking trust deficit, a bedevilled past, several core contradictions and the lack of a really convincing, concrete and compatible course of action. They range from his zinging resolve at Zia’s grave to fulfil his most diabolical mission, berating Benazir for not having gazed menacingly at Rajiv Gandhi during their parleys for peace, infatuation to implement Abbaji’s shariah version and ascend as Ameer-ul-Momineen (supreme ruler) and precipitate the parochial divide by dishing out the cardinal state offices to an obsequious clique from around Model Town. He ruined the economy, eroding even the personal foreign exchange deposits under the pretext of a purported drive for deliverance from foreign loans. He still relishes the same theme of smashing the begging bowl and even if one believes him, ignoring his sibling’s spree to double the Punjab debt burden, the contradictions clouding his new crusade have to be straightened out.

His hatred against General Musharraf and his dictatorship, for instance, still has to transcend personal ire, turning into a general distaste against all dictators, including General Zia. Even his stand against Mush is quite contradictory, because if Mush was a usurper and illegitimate ruler, how can the judicial constellation, including the incumbent chief justice created by him, be accepted as legal. Yet Nawaz raised hell for the restoration of the judges elevated by Mush. Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s stand against Mush certainly stirred an illustrious democratic movement, yet according to basic legal tenets, it can in no way erase his previous collaboration with a dictator. The restoration of this tainted judiciary certainly brought Nawaz some personal gains but viewed in the real wider democratic context and traditions, the nation is stuck with a judiciary that has almost sidelined parliament to monopolise the selection and appointments of new superior judges. Nawaz must seriously reflect that if the new superior judges are inducted by the already serving senior incumbents and not by the elected representatives, how a bond of trust, approval, reverence and the obligation of the masses to submit to their decisions can be created.

His raucous rant against the US similarly repudiates his stand to mellow the inane anti-Indian hatred indicating that he is merely replacing it with an anti-American angst. But he must also recall that he had created almost a similar hysteria by touting his courage to defy the American pressure to thwart the nuclear tests and make Pakistan impregnable. Yet his swaggering icky invincibility brag was soon busted as he rushed to besiege Clinton to save us from the Kargil disaster. He must also have realised that the invincibility was acquired not by the atomic piles but by a discreet patience to shun provocation. He still repeats this maudlin detonation raga and Chaudhry Nisar even nudged the government to shoot the drones by using missiles. Nawaz must realise the implications of alienating the entire democratic and advanced world by pedalling a highly unrealistic and ambiguous stand against terrorism. He must realise that the dreams of prosperity, democracy, development and national dignity cannot coexist with the weird obscurantism of Taliban-like outfits. And also that their tentacles have turned more transnational and Pakistan has neither been able to stem terrorism on its own nor can it ever succeed without the requisite cooperation of the advanced world. So rather than bashing the Americans, he should convince the maverick media and masses of the exigency of an explicit collaboration with the west against terrorism and also for advancement in science, industry, trade and resource development. The west gave him succour, stents, hair and heart treatment when he most needed it. So rather than being trapped into the mullahs’ tirade of malice and hatred, he should push for a symbiotic global interaction. He similarly has to clear the contradictions about the sovereignty and sanctity of our soil and space, which curiously are not torn by the terrorist hoards ravaging this land and carving out monopolistic domains on it. Yet it is threatened by the Americans who happen to be our allies, make no claims on our land or resources but fly in, momentarily, to trounce the terrorist potential.

Such contradictions, however, are an inevitable strand of almost every evolving thought, particularly the one creeping out of the chronically congealed fundamentalist militaristic notions. They could gradually dissolve while steering sincerely towards a proper implementation. So any tangible outcome of his newly anointed thought would be decided by the relevance of his strategies to ensure relief from the worsening scourge of scarcity, inflation and deprivation, which need new and enhanced resources. He emphatically spurns foreign aid and dependence so an evident option for him was to build a broader consensus on realigning priorities like reducing the defence budget to the levels adequately sufficient to squash terrorism, slashing the grandiose designs of matching the Indian and American might and sparing more for the other desperate needs. Yet he miserably flubbed the challenge. Similarly, his impatience to rig up a broader alliance, merely to dislodge the government rather than presenting a viable alternative agenda for a genuine relief to the masses and revival of trade and industry, unfortunately is not compatible with his new pronouncements. It rather smacks of his old IJI craving for chaos, confusion and destabilisation to drown the fledgling democracy. His new look and exposure to the western world, on the contrary, requires a new realism to strive for peace and tranquillity and perform his role on the floor of the House in a more mature, tolerant, constitutional, constructive and less chaotic mode.

Source: http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\16\story_16-7-2011_pg3_2

August 3, 2009

Violence in Gojra Amidst Mulim/Christian Clashes. Sharif Remains Silent.

Category: Uncategorized – admin 4:01 pm

Violence erupted in Gojra over the weekend after a Christian wedding party purportedly desecrated a Qur’an.  The riots resulted in at least seven Christians being burnt alive and over dozen others wounded.  Additionally, many homes have been reduced to rubble due to the fires.  Punjab Chief Minister Rana Sanaullah has now ruled out the alleged desecration:

“Authorities had investigated the allegation of a Quran being defiled, and our initial reports say that there has not been any incident of desecration,” Sanaullah said.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari sent his minister for minority affairs to Punjab after the violence, saying the envoy will stay until the region’s “social fabric” is repaired:

Zardari said the state must protect civilians under attack from a handful of vengeful and armed groups, APP reported, citing presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar. A judicial inquiry will be held into the incident that will “give some comfort to the victims that the state is not biased,” the president said.

[...]

Zardari asked his minister to remain in the region until people affected by the violence are returned safely to their homes, Babar said. The president is concerned about the wrong done to the victims as well as the signal the violence sends to the international community, APP cited Babar as saying.

So where was Nawaz Sharif during the protests?  Sharif’s Punjab government did nothing for 2 days as Christians were being burnt alive in their homes and the Punjab police stood aside as extremist Sunni Muslims killed these desperately poor Christian sweepers and their families.  Sharif has been closely linked to Islamic radicals in the past, so tacit approval of these actions is the only logical conclusion for his silence.

July 30, 2009

While Pakistan Swelters, Sharif's Tiger Stays Cool

Category: Excess – admin 7:03 am

The BBC reports that while Pakistanis are currently enduring sweltering heat amid severe power cuts, Nawaz Sharif’s imported family tiger has been kept in its own air-conditioned compound:

The tiger was set to be housed in an electrically-cooled compound on the family estate of Raiwind, a few kilometres outside Lahore, the Punjab capital.

But a huge hue and cry was raised by the press and public after it emerged the compound would run on local electricity.

Pakistan’s nationwide power shortages are so severe that daily outages last 10-12 hours.

The tiger was obtained from Canada on 23 July despite a ban on the private import of large cats into Pakistan since February 2009.  After the public outcry, the World Wildlife Fund has finally persuaded the Sharif family to no longer keep the tiger.

Read the whole article here.

June 27, 2009

Sharif’s “kept in dark” over Kargil claims “an absolute lie”: Musharraf

Category: Kargil – admin 8:50 am

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/south-asia/sharifs-kept-in-dark-over-kargil-claims-an-absolute-lie-musharraf_100210105.html

Lahore, June 27 (ANI): Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has rejected former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s claims that he was kept in the dark regarding the Kargil issue.

In an interview to a private television channel, Musharraf claimed that he had shared all details with Sharif regarding the Kargil conflict.

Terming Sharif’s statement as “an absolute lie”, Musharraf said he gave Sharif a detailed presentation on the Kargil situation just two days before the former left for the US.

He said that Sharif repeatedly enquired about whether the troops could be withdrawn from Kargil, to which he claimed to have replied that it had to be decided by the country’s leadership.

“I said I have informed you about the military situation but the withdrawal of forces is a political decision which has to be taken by the political leadership,” The Daily Times quoted Musharraf, as saying.

The former military general also claimed that he came near to resolving the Kashmir dispute with India during the infamous Agra summit in 2001.

Musharraf said that he and the then India Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had even agreed to draft a joint declaration regarding the Kashmir issue, but blamed New Delhi for ditching Islamabad at the last moment.

“The Indian leadership changed their mind at the last minute and did not support the joint declaration, saying that the cabinet had not approved it,” said Musharraf.

Musharraf said he tried his best to resolve the issue which is pending for years, and in that context even held talks with all the stakeholders such as All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and various leaders of the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

He, however, said the meetings did not yield substantial results, as the leaders ‘failed to guide him in the right direction’.

Musharraf also rejected the notion that the country’s Army did not want a resolution on the Kashmir issue.

He said all such reports were primarily aired to malign the image of the security forces, and a part of a “vicious propaganda” against the country. (ANI)

June 14, 2009

Sharif knew about Kargil misadventure: Former ISI chief

Category: Kargil – admin 8:35 am

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/lifestyle/sharif-knew-about-kargil-misadventure-former-isi-chief_10060062.html

Lahore, June 14 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was aware of the situation in Kargil in 1999 through the then Defence Secretary who had briefed him on the situation, a senior Pakistan Army official has said.

The book, Crossed Swords, by former Army Chief Asif Nawazs brother Shuja Nawaz, quotes Lieutenant General (retired) Khawaja Ziauddin as saying that Sharif was in the loop.

If the account were correct, it conflicted with Sharifs denials that he was not aware of what Musharraf and his generals had planned during Kargil.

It backs Musharrafs contention that everyone was on board during the Kargil misadventure, the report adds.

Shuja’s interview with Ziauddin, who was Inter-Services Intelligence boss during Kargil, also reveals that Mullah Muhammad Rabbani, then Afghan President in 1999, offered Pakistan 500,000 Afghan volunteers for the Kashmir jihad, the Daily Times reported. (ANI)